Mexican Pres. Calderón & Chamber join forces to strengthen regional economy

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, May 19 – Addressing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, Mexican President Felipe Calderón outlined a prosperous future for the North American continent as a whole . . . if the U.S., Mexico and Canada achieve greater regional integration.

U.S. Chamber President & CEO Tom Donohue welcomed Calderón’s call for increasing integration. He said the Chamber is pursuing that goal by launching its “U.S.-Mexico Leadership Initiative, Vision 2020.” The initiative includes a five-point plan to strengthen the U.S-Mexico economic partnership and:

  • “Make both countries more competitive in global markets;

  • Make our border a model for the 21st century;

  • “Leverage the continent’s energy resources while protecting the environment;

  • “Raise living standards for our citizens; and,

  • “Do so all within a framework that respects national sovereignty and national interests.”

Addressing three key cross-border issues, Donohue said the U.S. business community is committed to “pushing for practical approaches to immigration reform, urging that the U.S. keep its word under the NAFTA agreement and permit cross-border trucking, and working to make our border a model for the 21st century.

After both Donohue and Calderón pointed out that U.S. trade with Mexico has created more than 6 million U.S. jobs, Calderón said that prosperity for both the U.S. and Mexico “depends on strengthening our relationship.” He said the challenge is that the U.S., Mexico and Canada are “losing competitiveness” compared with Asia and Europe due to North America’s “relative lack of integration as a region compared to other parts of the world.” He said what’s needed is further progress on removing tariff barriers and creating a continent-wide free market to increase trade and “maximize the competitive advantages of our countries.” He said “the more integrated we are, the more gain for the North American economy.”

Mexican President Felipe Calderón followed by U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue leaving a meeting
held to honor Calderón's 
state visit to Washington, DC. Photo: Agri-Pulse.

Welcoming the fact that the U.S. investors have poured $125 billion into Mexico – more than twice the U.S. investment in China – Calderón said Mexico’s goal is use this investment to create enough new jobs in Mexico so that no Mexicans will be forced to head north across the border in search of work. He explained that with their complementary economies, both the U.S. and Mexico stand to benefit from the fact that the U.S. is abundant in capital while Mexico is abundant in labor and in a younger population eager to work.

Calling for “a new vision of a common future,” Calderón said that “labor and capital are like right shoe and left shoe. You cannot walk without both shoes.”

To read more about President Calderón’s visit, go to:

For more information on the Chamber’s U.S.-Mexico Leadership Initiative, Vision 2020, go to:

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